Remarks by Premier R.M. Mtshweni-Tsipane on the occasion of the commemoration of World TB Day

24 March 2021

His Excellency the Deputy President of the Republic, Mr David Mabuza;
Honourable Minister of Health Dr Zweli Mkhize;
Ministers and Deputy Ministers present
All Premiers Present;
Members of the Executive council;
Members of the National and Provincial Legislatures;
Executive Mayor of Ehlanzeni District Municipality; Cllr Jesta Sidell;
Our Host, the Mayor of the City of Mbombela Local Municipality, Cllr Sibusiso Mathonsi;
The Deputy Chairperson of the South African National Aids Council; Ms. Steve Letsike
Traditional leaders and civic organizations leaders present;
Leaders of religious organizations;
Leaders of the business community;
Ladies and gentlemen,
Good Day
  1. Programme Director, it is an honour to welcome you all to the beautiful province of the rising sun on this auspicious day. As the Mpumalanga Province, we consider it a privilege to host the first Hybrid commemoration of world TB day. That this is a hybrid commemoration encompassing virtual and physical attendance is testament to the new normal brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.
  1. This new normal has not only changed the manner in which we live our lives, it has also presented us with an opportunity to foster change. This gathering must serve as a catalyst for change in the manner in which we manage the silent killer that is Tuberculosis.
  1. Programme Director, according to the World Health Organisation, South Africa is amongst 14 countries with the highest prevalence of Tuberculosis.
  1. Ehlanzeni District is one of the high TB burdened Districts in the Country. Following Ehlanzeni with TB burden in the province is Nkangala District with Gert Sibande being the less burdened of our 3 Districts.
  1. In Mpumalanga alone, we have reported 12 933 positive cases of tuberculosis with 1 106 fatalities since 2018. This upward trend and increase in infections is a sobering reminder that we are gathered in a part of the world that is being ravaged by tuberculosis . This scourge has robbed families of loved ones, communities of its leaders and the Province of its future.
  1. In response to this crisis, the Mpumalanga Province has developed a result orientated strategy premised upon;
    • Accelerating the reduction of TB infections through TB education and screening facilitated via the Cheka Impilo Wellness Campaign;
    • Reducing morbidity and mortality by providing treatment and post treatment care at all Provincial health care facilities; and
    • Reaching all key and vulnerable populations with customised and targeted interventions across the Province.
    • The use of Digital Chest X-ray machines in diagnosing TB.
    • Procuring 22 double cab vehicles for TB management services and finding the missing TB clients at municipality level.
    • Implementing the 90-90-90 strategy for TB. This is done by Screening 90% of our population for TB symptoms. Finding 90% of all TB clients and placing them on appropriate TB treatment and successfully treating at least 90% of those diagnosed with TB.
    • Integrating TB screening during household visits for Covid-19 contacts screening.
    • Conducting TB management trainings for Health care professionals, Traditional Health practitioners and Community Health workers.
    • Procuring TB medication to successfully treat children and adults diagnosed with TB. And;
    • Working collaboratively with District developmental partners, Private health care providers, National Health Laboratory services, NGOs and the mining sector.
  1. This strategy is in line with the National Strategic Plan (NSP) as developed by SANAC to reduce the overall TB infection rate across the country. It is this NSP that will afford us as Provinces, a platform through which we shall chart our collective response to this silent killer.
  1. Programme Director, as I conclude, I trust that this gathering will also deliberate on how the TB epidemic is impacting our holistic socio-economic development as a nation - the social toll it is taking on women and children; the economic tolls on families and communities.
  1. We must also endeavour to ensure that this gathering develops tangible actions that will contribute to the strengthening of health systems, improving TB education and awareness and reducing the overall rate of TB infection.
  1. With these few words, Programme Director, allow me to welcome you all to the Province of Mpumalanga, a province so rich in heritage that it is often referred to as the cultural heartbeat of the nation.
  1. I wish you all fruitful, progressive and constructive deliberations.
  1. I thank you.

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